The Ministry of Labour intends to make every effort to eliminate all child labour activities in Barbados. Therefore, the Ministry of Labour has been actively working to eliminate child labour in Barbados through a broad based working committee since February 2004. This committee pools together the resources and expertise of social agencies, law enforcement, non-governmental organizations and other relevant agencies to tackle the issue of child labour in the country.
The Membership of the Committee is as follows:
- Ministry of Labour
- Labour Department
- Ministry of Social Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development
- Child Care Board
- Probation Department
- Welfare Department
- Ministry of Health
- National HIV/AIDS Commission
- Royal Barbados Police Force
- Department of Social Work
- Ministry of Family, Youth Affairs and Sports (Division of Youth Affairs)
- Barbados Statistical Service
- Government Industrial School
- United Nations Children’s Fund
- Barbados Evangelical Association
- Barbados Christian Council
- Parent Education and Development in Barbados (PAREDOS)
- Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados
- Barbados Employers’ Confederation
Terms of Reference
- To foster an understanding of the worst forms of child labour among interest groups;
- To educate the public about the worst forms of child labour;
- To monitor incidents of the worst forms of child labour;
- To make recommendations to relevant agencies on measures to combat the worst forms of child labour;
- To facilitate the enactment/amendment of legislation which addresses the worst forms of child labour.
Child Labour Sub-Committees
The Child Labour Working Committee has proven to be a very important vehicle in strengthening inter-agency co-operation. Sub-committees were formed and are undertaking work in a number of areas. The following is highlighted:
The Harmonization of Legislation
The Ministry of Labour, with funding from UNICEF, commissioned a legislative review which was conducted by Mr. Jeff Cumberbatch, a Consultant on Labour Law and Lecturer at the University of West Indies. The objectives of the study were;
- to examine carefully all Barbadian legislation which has a bearing on child labour;
- to identify anomalies and discrepancies in the legislation as they relate to child labour; and
- to recommend amendments to the legislation in order to harmonize the provisions of the relevant statutes as they relate to child labour.
The Consultant identified some statutes for amendment in keeping with the terms of reference of the review. The Ministry of Labour has met with the Ministries that have responsibility for implementing the provisions of the various statutes identified for amendment. Participants attending that meeting were sensitized about issues concerning child labour and were requested to undertake the proposed amendments. Some ministries cannot act immediately because they are contemplating major amendments to the legislation in question.
Development of a Questionnaire on Child Economic Activities
Members of the Child Labour Committee came to the conclusion at an early stage that a common approach needed to be developed in seeking to obtain information on the worst forms of child labour. Accordingly, the Committee developed a survey instrument to address this need. The document will be administered in all social agencies and in schools on a case by case basis.
The instrument was piloted in the school system and appropriate amendments were made to the document based on the results of the pilot.
The document was finalized and the Cabinet agreed that the instrument should be used as a tool for obtaining information on the incidence of child labour in Barbados. The Ministry met with all agencies that would use the questionnaire in order to ensure a common methodology in its administration.
Educational Programme for Child Labour
The greatest challenge in combating child labour in Barbados is that many persons do not believe that it exists and most persons do not really understand what child labour is. Therefore, a sub-committee was established to develop and implement an educational programme for selected interest groups and involved a series of workshops which targeted:
- Guidance Counsellors
- Law Enforcement Officers
- Community Groups
Mass Media Programme
The Ministry of Labour has developed a Mass Media Programme on Child Labour which aims to:
- Sensitize the public to what constitutes child labour and the worst forms of child labour;
- Help the public understand that child labour whether in its worst forms or otherwise is a violation of children’s rights.
This promotion campaign was officially launched on June 12th, 2008, which is officially commemorated by the ILO as World Day against Child Labour. The Ministry will utilize all available media and will spread the message through jingles, television promotions, brochures and posters. It is hoped that if the public understands what is child labour and the need to protect our children’s rights, then any incidence of child labour can be reported and addressed, thereby combating child labour, even in its worst forms.